Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Nerve of Some People!

According to Stephanie's newest Book Knitting Rules I am an obsessed knitter. This type of knitter uses all her free time to knit and occasionally will stalk - I mean admire - someone else's sweater, even if that means chasing them down the streets of New York City . She will also choose public transportation over driving even if it means she will arrive a few hours later. This, however, is no reason for another person - another knitting person at that - to discourage the knitting lifestyle. He said to me, and I quote, "maybe a new arts and crafts should be explored....Quilting?" Can you believe this? First of all, as beautiful as quilting is, it is completely impractical to the on-the-go-knitter. Imagine bringing my quilting to chapel? Or on the bus ride up to visit my aunt?! I was appalled at this suggestion, as I am sure you are too! I suppose according to Stephanie, he would be classified as a pretender knitter. These knitters have been "granted 'knitter' status only by the virtue of their affection for the craft..." These knitters usually have been knitting the same garter stitch scarf for the last 10 years or so.

Yes, Knitting Rules came in the mail yesterday and I've already started reading it. She is so brillant. Also in that shipment came Pursenalities: 20 Great Knitted and Felted Bags. I strongly STRONGLY recommend this book, especially if you love or want to love felting. Each of the 20 purses in this book are wonderful and if you don't like them your friend will. There is also a sequel: Pursenalities Plus. This book does have one or two good patterns, but I would not say it has the selection that the original has. Check out this website to get a preview of all the purses included in the original book. The glimpse at the knitted piece in the picture is the pink purse that my lovely sister has requested I make for her - the one I had to learn DPNs for. It's coming along quite nicely. I am about half way through it - and I am nervous I wont have enough yarn to finish it despite the yarn shop telling me I would. This is the first felted purse I knit on needles smaller than US 13. I am making this one on US 8, so its moving just a little bit slower, not to mention I have a ton of school work lately.

However, the massive amounts of school work has not kept me from starting new projects. In addition to the purse I am making for Laurel I have to other projects going - one started yesterday, and one started today. Yesterday I started knitting the scarf with the yarn that my aunt picked out. I wasn't quite sure how it would look once it was knitted up. I'm beginning to love it. I also casted on for the lace scarf that I plan on knitting as my long term project - and believe me, it will definitely be long term! This picture is after knitting 5 rows. You can barely tell there is anything there! It's kind of insane. I am going to enjoy working on it and pick it up only when I want to knit it. In the mean time I have plenty other projects to knit when I don't want to be knitting lace.

I may be obsessed, but it's only because I've found something I truly love. I am not a pretender. I am the real thing - as scary as that may be to some.

Monday, March 27, 2006

They are EVERYWHERE!

Holy Goodness! Has it really been almost a week since I've posted last? I apologize for those of you - if any - who were waiting for me to post yet another exciting entry. Life has been super busy. This second half of the semester I picked up two more classes and its really starting to hit me. My room is a mess. I can't find anything. And yet there seems to be no time to clean it. I can barely find room to shower. I'm tired. Mom - don't worry, this is part of being a college student, right?

Anyway, for those of you who weren't aware I went up to Maine this weekend to visit Aunt Melinda and Uncle Danny. Aunt Melinda is the aunt that I made the black and green purse for. I gave it to her this weekend. She absolutely loved it and carried it with her all day Friday as we were shopping. Apparently everyone else liked it too. She got many compliments and she was happy to point out that her niece had made it for her. We went to the local yarn store near her, conviently in her home town. There we bought this yarn so I can make her a scarf. It's Berroco's Optik. I've never worked with it before so we shall see how it comes out. This yarn shop - called Heavenly Socks Yarns - provided the most wonderful tool I had ever seen, and it was FREE. A complimentary needle and hook inventory. It gives you a place to mark down which needles you have and which you don't. As you can tell from the picture I have yet to mark in which I have - or more importantly which I still need to get!

For not being around the five other knitters in my apartment, this weekend was quite filled with many knitters. Okay, many meaning two... but hey, that's more than I had expected. My first encounter was in South Station as I waited for my bus to be ready for boarding. The lady sitting next to me, after settling her things around her, pulled out some yarn and needles. My attention was immediately grabbed and I tried to stare as much as possible, without making it look like I was staring. Finally, I got the nerve to ask her what she was making. She was making a mitten for a little girl. It was pink. She pulled out the other completed one to show me. Then I got to show her the purse I am making. We stared in awe at each other's knitting and then went back to our own projects, as a knitter's fingers can not be idol for long.

Friday night was my next encounter with a knitter - haha, I'm talking as if I had seen UFOs or something. After a long day of shopping with Aunt Melinda. The two of us and Uncle Danny went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner and then to an Irish acoustic band concert (weird mix, I know). They were fantastic. They call themselves Lunasa (www.lunasa.ie/home.php) It was the type of music that you just wanted to jump out of your seat and start dancing. Everyone in the audience were moving their heads to the beat of the music. I glanced over the audience and then saw a lady who was not only moving her head with the beat, but she was also KNITTING with the beat of the music. It was quite fascinating. I never got to talk to her and see what she was knitting because she was on the other side of the concert hall, but she sure kept me wondering what she knittin' over yonder.

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's newest book should be arriving in the mail any day now. I cannot wait! Hopefully, it'll be sooner than later before I post again.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Spring Has Sprung!

The worst of it is over. Winter is gone - atleast technically. Mother nature is still trying to hold on to Winter but she is slowly loosing her grip! YAY!

There are six weeks left in the semester and they are going by quickly! I still have yet to fall into the normal way of things here at school since coming back from Spring Break. Last week Alison was here. Then Laurel came for the weekend! Friday night we went to Nodrog - the faculty talent show - which was quite entertaining. And then off to Soma - our usual Friday hang out where we get a little dressed up and go have drinks and fancy cheese platters. Saturday we spent ALL day in Boston. This picture is of the three of us - Laurel, Me, and Sarah - taking a break in the food court of the Prudential building after a long day of window shopping and Henna tattooing (atleast on my part). Sunday was recovery day and then she left me on Monday (I miss her lots!).

This weekend I am going up to Maine to visit my Aunt and Uncle! I will get there Thursday night and leave Sunday afternoon. Friday we are going to see an acoustic Irish band - Lunasa. I haven't heard them so it should be a neat experience.

Oh! Did I tell you one of my apartment-mates went to Italy over Spring Break? Yea well, she did! And she had a fantastic time - although I have yet to hear all about it. She is the sweetest girl you'll ever meet. She is the most patient and kindest person in the world. Anyway, she brought back each of us girls in the apartment a little something from Italy. I got the best gift - ladybugs! No... not real ladybugs. Ladybugs made of Murano glass which is made right in Italy. She told me when she was looking at them she picked up one and the salesman told her no it was to be sold as a family!

I love my girls. They are what keep me going. Ladybugs or no ladybugs!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Spring Break is over. I am back at school. I am back with my girls - but I miss my family. I've added two more classes and taken away none. It's going to be one packed semester. Of course I will always make room for knitting - although I must admit if the knitting olympics were to occur now I don't think I would have been able to complete my goal of felting 3 purses. I am still trying to get into the school mode which hasn't been easy - especially now that I can knit with DPNs! It hasn't helped that I've had visitors this week. My old friend from high school, Alison, came to visit Tuesday and left on Wednesday evening. We had a grand time! This is a picture of her when we were both still at home at our 24 Hour Diner. She ordered an apple turnover. This is what she got. It was the size of three normal turnovers! We were not expecting this.

My wonderful sister comes to visit me for the weekend tomorrow! I cannot wait. We have a fun-filled weekend planned. Tomorrow, is NODROG, the faculty/staff talent show at school and then we are going to with all the girls to Soma, our usual Friday night hang out. Saturday we are going into Boston. YAY! For lunch we will eat at Fire n Ice - all you can eat make your own stirfry. It's amazing. Not sure what else we'll do in Boston, but between Newbury St., Quincy Market, Boston Commons, and Harvard Sqaure I am sure we will be entertained - especially since it will be the day after St. Patrick's day!

In other news, I finished The Tenth Circle last night around 11:15. I emailed Jodi immediately (She emailed me back within the half hour)! The book was a masterpiece as I had expected. I strongly recommend it. If you've never read Jodi you will be hooked after reading this book. Promise. Pinky Swear.

OH!! I never told you. I was listening to one of the knitting podcasts - About Time - where I wonderfully learned about Jennifer who makes beaded stitch markers. I emailed her asking if she would make me a custom pair with ladybugs on them. For those of you who don't know I have collected ladybug paraphanalia since the 5th grade, so combining my love of ladybugs with my love of knitting seemed only appropriate. Aren't they the cutest thing? I ordered 10 of them. The picture only has nine in them because one is already in use on the purse I am knitting for Laurel - the one I learned double pointed needles for - the one that is already moved on to circular needles! I'll post a picture when I get a little further along.

In other news, I finished The Tenth Circle last night around 11:15. I emailed Jodi immediately (She emailed me back within the half hour)! The book was a masterpiece as I had expected. I strongly recommend it. If you've never read Jodi you will be hooked after reading this book. Promise. Pinky Swear.

Friday, March 10, 2006

"Nothing to Fear...

...except fear itself" - especialy now that I can cross double pointed needles off of my list of things to fear. It's ready to be put on circular needles, but unfortunately I left me circular US 8 set at school by accident.

Also on my list of completetion was the scarf for my wonderful mommy. She wanted it super long so she could double it up. I finished it tonight while watching "Walk the Line" (Wonderful movie, by the way) with Mom and Dad. Mom loved it and said she was going to wear it to bed. I think she'd wake up in a sweat cause its going to keep her real warm - especially if the weather stays as warm as it was today - 70 degrees. It's only March 10 - there is supposed to be another 11 days of winter, right? I finished it with PLENTY of time for her to enjoy it... right?

It was a wonderful day for visiting the library and home of our 32nd president - Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It's easy to remeber he was the 32nd president because he was elected in 1932. It was really fun. Just Dad and I went and we had a lot of fun looking at all the keepsakes and reading all the plaques explaining what the keepsakes were. I saw the study that Franklin used when he was home during his presidency and the cloak he work during the Yalta Conference with Stalin and Churchill. I also learned that Eleanor, his wife (and 5th cousin once removed) was a knitter and sewer. She never went anywhere without one or the other. When she passed away, he knitting tools and projects were immediately donated to the museum. The green sweater in this picutre was knitted by Eleanor for a friend in the army. There was also the beginnings of a sweater for an infant that Eleanor never got to finish. And lots and lots of needles. She was really quite a remarkable woman.

Speaking of remarkable women. I met and had my picture taken with Jodi Picoult - my favorite author. I am just over halfway through her latest novel - The Tenth Circle - which was born on March 7th. She told us of her two research projects for her books. She went ghost hunting for her book Second Glance. For her latest book she lived in an eskimo village for few weeks. One of the little boys who lived in the house she was staying at kept pointing and laughing at her and then she was told it was because he had never seen anyone with her color hair before. With three kids - 14, 12, and 10 - she is truly a remarkable woman.

Spring Break is nearly over. I cannot belive it has gone so fast. I am not looking forward to the new heavy workload that will await me. (Oh, I better finish Jodi's book before I go back to school - otherwise I may never finish it!) But I still have two more days of Spring Break left and I WILL enjoy it!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Loosing my wisdom

Shall I start with the good news or the bad news?

Let's get the bad news out of the way first. Tomorrow, or I guess techinically today now that I look at my watch, I am getting one of my wisdom teeth pulled. Yup, only one - which means I'm going to have to go through this horrible experience atleast one more time. I have no idea what to think about this. I'm nervous, I mean they are taking one of my teeth out - and this time I don't get to put it under my pillow and get a quarter. Didn't God give us teeth for a reason - mainly that of staying in ones mouth? Instead, I am going to have a gigantic hole in the back of my mouth. Lovely!

The one thing that continusly comes to mind when I think about wisdom teeth being removed is Mr. Hull - my 5th grade teacher. My fifth grade year he got his wisdom teeth pulled. And being the awesome class that we were we threw him a party when he came back into school. He was surprised at our little party for him, but enjoyed it. Those were the good ol' days. Now it is my turn to experience this horrible fate that everyone eventually comes to. But why couldn't all my teeth be ready to come out all at once?

The good news is that The Tenth Circle was released today (March 7th) and being the dedicated fan that I am I drove right on over to Borders and bought my copy. So, despite having a tooth yanked out of my mouth I will have Jodi's latest masterpiece to keep me company. And best of all, I will get to meet her on Thursday. Hopefully my mouth won't be swollen anymore - or atleast not noticeably so. I am her BIGGEST fan - guaranteed. I don't want her to recall the image of Violet Beauregard when she sees me. I hope to have the book most of the way finished when I go to see her. I'm going to ask her to sign it. I am very excited.

In other news - I can't decide if its good or bad - Joyce is going to teach me how to knit with the dreaded double pointed needles. Laurel picked out a pattern for a felted purse that she wanted me to make her but of course it involves dpn's and of course I have no idea how to use them - despite my many attempts to teach myself. So Thursday afternoon Joyce - God bless her soul - is going to be patient enough to teach crazy old me the art of double pointed needles. I find that every pattern I want to knit lately involves double pointed needles - especially that of the oh-so-famous Mrs. Beeton's designed by Brenda Dayne of the Cast-On podcast. I think they are beautiful. I want them in every color.

Can I please drop out of school to knit full time? Will someone PLEASE pay me to knit full time? I'd be the happiest girl alive! If you need someone who will pay for a full time Knitter please contact me ASAP!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Knitting Disappointment

The Yarn Harlot's newest book - Knitting Rules - comes out March 1st - or so I had thought the Amazon.com page had told me. Being March 3rd I thought I was going to be one of the last knitters to get the new book. Dad and I went this evening and much to be disappoint I found that it has not yet been released. I came home and checked the Amazon.com page and they had no publication date out. So I went to my next choice - Barnes and Nobles. According to them the book will not be released until March 23. This is very sad since I seem to hang on the Harlot's every word. I check her blog for a new entry the minute I wake up in the morning. Knowing a new book was coming out was a dream come true. But now I have to wait another TWENTY days til my dream comes true.

By the way, did I tell you that before I was obsessed with knitting I was obsessed with reading (I still am!)? One of my favorite authors is Jodi Picoult. A friend of mine got me hooked when she gave me Plain Truth and within 2 months I had read all of Jodi's books that were published at that time. Since then I've had to wait patiently for the month of March to arrive - which is when she publishes her books. One book of Jodi's is released once a year. It's tough those other 11 months because as soon as her newest book is in my hands it is read within a minimum amount of time, so then I am stuck waiting the rest of the year for March to come around once more. It is MARCH! This means Jodi's latest book - The Tenth Circle - comes out this Tuesday March 7th. You can bet I will be at my bookstore on that morning to get my hands on it. Checking her website to make sure that the publication date hasn't been pushed back - like that of our beloved yarn harlot. And that's when I saw that she will be at a local library about a half hour from my home this coming Thursday - March 9th! I will be there with my book in hand to be autographed! I'm so excited that I am going to get the chance to meet my favorite author. I love her because she addresses controversial topics of the day - teen suicide, euthenasia, stem cell research - and explores them in an everyday context. She never takes a stance on the topic but leaves the reader to decide this on their own.

Oh, I guess you can assume by reading this that I made it home just fine to begin my spring break. Sarah and I left on Thursday evening and didn't hit any snow til Connecticut - halfway home. Spring Break has begun even though Spring doesn't start until March 21st and despite the fact that it is still 20 degrees here. Why didn't I go somewhere warm? Oh right, because I love my family!

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Those Beautiful Ashes...

Knitting news is at a minimum lately. I was able to work a little on my mom's scarf today, but I still have a long way to go still. My yarn is shipping tomorrow from the UK for my lace scarf that I plan to knit as my long term project. It's been a while since I've had a long term project. I love knitting those felted purses, but they sure do knit up quickly - as my family can attest.

In other areas of my life... today is Ash Wednesday. Growing up in a non-denominational protestant church we had never observed Ash Wednesday. I took an interest in it when my aspiring catholic friends were telling me about it. I read up on it and learned quite a bit! Ash Wednesday begins the season of Lent. It occurs 40 days before Easter, excluding Sundays. The priest or minister marks the forehead of each participant with black ashes, in the shape of a cross, which the worshipper traditionally retains until washing it off after sundown. It signifys repentence before God. The ashes are prepared by burning palm leaves from the previous year's Palm Sunday celebrations and mixing them with olive oil as a fixative. I was blessed today with ashes today for the first time. It's hard to see the cross shape of the ashes because I managed to smudge them before this picture was taking. It was a truly meaningful experience. I was so excited - can't you tell!

Spring break has begun, but I'm still at school. Hopefully Sarah and I will be heading home around 6 tomorrow night, but according to Mom and Dad the weather is supposed to be bad. Please hope it will be safe enough to drive home. I miss my family terribly - and besides I must go back and continue to guide my sister along the path of "I want to learn to knit!"